Clayton Kershaw campaigned heavily for the Dodgers to keep A.J. Ellis amid rumors that he might be a non-tender candidate after hitting just .191 last season. They listened, retaining Ellis for $4.25 million even after acquiring young catcher Yasmani Grandal from the Padres.
It’s unclear what type of time-sharing arrangement the two catchers will have this season, but manager Don Mattingly made it clear that Ellis will not serve as Kershaw’s personal catcher.
When asked about that, Kershaw told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that he “loves to throw to A.J.” but it’s “Donnie’s call.”
Grandal is a switch-hitter and Ellis is a right-handed hitter, so a straight-up platoon could work and would give Grandal about two-thirds of the playing time behind the plate. Whatever the case, after averaging 433 plate appearances per season from 2012-2014 Ellis is in line for a major reduction.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.